Thursday, November 29, 2007

Alrighty Then

I got the in-laws off at the airport yesterday, but right before I did I twisted my right knee. I had all this stuff to do, stripping sheets and remaking beds, vacuuming, laundry, etc. and I could hardly walk.

It feels marginally better this morning, thank the stars. But now I'm officially in panic mode over Christmas shopping and need to sit down and do some serious planning.

But first I'm off to my Thursday morning stitch-in because I seriously need some me time.

Why does this sound like I'm bouncing off the walls?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Two Photos from Manassas

These are both from the Manassas battlefield last Friday - otherwise known as Bull Run to us Northerners. The quality of light was fantastic. But it was freezing cold - wind blowing like 40 m.p.h. which was a rude surprise after 77 degrees the day before.

Earlier Finish

This is my finish from earlier in November - Blue Ribbon Designs "Red Letter Ornaments"
We've done a bunch of these for a tree that gets auctioned off for charity.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Box of FUFOs

I opened that box yesterday to show in-laws. DH was appalled at all the projects that just are sitting there without framing.



The sad fact is that the cost of framing has gotten too high for me to afford. And I just keep adding the the completed pile.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Stitchers are Wonderful People

A lovely lady in California heard my plea for soie d'alger 3723 and 3726 that was purchased around the year 2000. Yesterday I received an envelope with perfectly matching silk and can now complete my Agnes Scott without problems. Such a relief.

It's time to bring DS back to school. This doesn't seem right. But the good news is both children will be home in three weeks. They just have to survive finals.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

And Because I'm Still Wasting Time Hiding in the Office

From Anna, aka the Stitch Bitch:

1. Which do you like better: Cooking at your house, or going elsewhere?
My house please. Then I can have exactly what I want.

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen bird?
Fresh. Best turkeys ever were the ones my friends raised themselves.

3. What kind of stuffing?
Dressing, not stuffing. Regular bread. People seem to get upset if I deviate.

4. Sweet potato or pumpkin pie?
Pumpkin. Though squash is good, too.

5. Do you believe that turkey leftovers are a curse, or the point of the whole thing? Whole point. Soup is cooking before the dishes are done.

6. Which side dish would provoke a riot if you left it off the menu?
Not sure. It's a complete package.

7. Do you save the carcass to make soup or stock?
Yes. See above.

8. What do you wish you had that would make preparing Thanksgiving dinner easier?
Two ovens.

9. Do you get up at the crack of dawn to have dinner ready in the early afternoon, or do you eat at your normal dinner hour?
I have gotten up at the crack of dawn. I'm always up at the crack of dawn anyway.

10. If you go to somebody else's house, what's your favorite dish to bring?
Homemade rolls and cream puffs.

11. What do you wish one of your guests wouldn't bring to your house?
I've never had a problem.

12. Does your usual mix of guests result in drama, or is it a group you're happy to see? No drama. It's pretty darn peaceful.

13. What's your absolute favorite thing on the menu?
The sandwich I will have tonight. Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and olives on soft bread.

Things to Be Thankful For

My family, e v e n the ones currently driving me nuts (not their fault, I've got hormonal issues...)

The clever people at ICanHasCheeseburger? who always can make me laugh

Elvis, my twenty lb. kitty who tried to love me to death at 5:00 this morning. When he headbuts you, you know you've been butted

All this information and ridiculousness floating around in cyberspace for me to find

My friends. Don't know what I'd do without them.


LOL, didn't expect that one, did you?

Sunshine, especially when the leaves are falling

Water. Both for drinking and swimming. I'm Aquarius after all.

Books. LOTS and LOTS of books.

Husband. Who isn't a mind reader, but his heart is in the right place. Much love, sweetie.

People who make me laugh. Last night it was Frank Caliendo who we recorded to watch later.

Red Sox. And all members of Red Sox Nation. Hey. Freakin' awesome, we won the World Series. That's reason enough to smile every day till spring training.

Any night when I can sleep all the way through without waking up. (Last time I did this was nearly one week ago.)

Did I mention alcohol?

Hey, what's wrong with a little self-medication?

People who get me. There are not that many of them in the world. Sometimes I wish there were more. But I'll take who I can get.

Top Gear, Project Runway, Top Chef. All good clean fun. Let's turn a car into a rocket and launch it. Let's turn a mini-van into a convertible and run it through a car wash setting the car wash on fire. What fun!

Music. OMB. I am so thankful for music. All kinds of music. New, old, fast, slow. Classical, country, rock, pop, standards, big band, jazz, blues, folk, a capella, alternative, rap, hip hop, Christmas. Whatever. (I'll pass on the gospel and overtly Christian stuff. But I still love Amazing Grace and other classic hymns.)

My eyesight and hands which allow me to stitch. I'd be doing that right now, but my right hand is a little stressed from cutting the backbone out of our turkey. For fun google the term spatchcock.

College hockey. Way more fun than the NHL. Teams I follow - UNH and Army.

The ability to move without pain.

My sister who turns 52 tomorrow. You may have tormented me 40 years ago, but you make up for it since then.

Nuts. Chips. Salty foodstuffs. Mmmmm.

Coffee and Tea. Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon. Oh how I adore you hot beverages of comfort and joy.

Free time. To. Do. What. I. Please.

I know there is more. But the sleep issues are screwing with my brain's processing capabilities.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I forgot to mention that we've got a radio station here that started playing Christmas music. NOT an occasional song, but 24/7! I'm not sure when they started but I found them last weekend.

Head, *thunk*

Poor Kitteh

Because we hung those Goodwill curtains in the office, we've actually been using them and closing them at night. Well, it seems that somehow our 20 lb. cat has claimed this space for his very own private club. The other cat rarely comes in here. He has an ottoman with a cat fur catching pad on it and lounges on it or under it in front of the window. But yesterday morning he was totally stymied by the presence of curtains! He couldn't see out of his window. He was pacing back and forth upstairs, looking at me (I know now with dismay in his eyes.) He finally settled in front of the kitchen window. And 1 1/2 hours later, I figured out his problem. He beat me to the bottom of the stairs and was on the ottoman waiting for me to open that curtain. This morning he tried a different tactic - lolling on the freshly steam cleaned carpet upside down being cute and drawing attention to himself. He's a funny one, our Elvis.

Today his second favorite Mom arrives. My mother-in-law adores this cat. We've actually brought him to NH from VA just for her to visit with him.

The house is totally clean, except I need to change the sheets on the bed and do some picking up in the kitchen. And make a lasagna. Because after in-laws arrive I have to head south on I-95 to pick up son at college. His classes don't end till 3:15. That could be a fun drive home.

Meanwhile I haven't put a needle in my hand since what, Friday? Saturday? Help. I'm suffering withdrawal.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Okay. So the in-laws are arriving tomorrow. We all know what that means. While finishing up the remodel in the office, everything got shifted around and had to be put back. Did that yesterday. Today is all about the cleaning.

I found the most amazing curtains at Goodwill. Four panels. Two for the windows and two for the closet. And DH loves them, too. I swear someone bought them and decided they didn't like them and just donated them. They're brown, tan and silvery blue with a geometric circles and squares design. (I know photos. Battery is charging right now.)

But while straightening the bedroom before cleaning, I finally hung my Poseidon. I had originally planned on hanging him in the bathroom and my friends all told me he was way too nice for the bathroom. Well, yesterday I hung him in the bathroom. He looks fantastic. Classes up the joint. I can't believe I waited nearly four months before putting this on a wall. What an idiot.

About the "mythical one project at a time stitchers"

First of all - the comment made me laugh.

I have personally known people like this. The first one I encountered more than 20 years ago and after we introduced her to cross stitch, she started methodically working her way through every Pat Buckley Moss design. The most time it took her was one month. I admit, she was a high achiever in a set of circumstances where she couldn't work and this was her substitute for working.

But we see them in my LNS. They only work one project at a time. And are very meticulous about choosing their next project. I am not certain they are as obsessive as my friend from years ago, but I suspect they are extremely focused individuals.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

UFO Ramblings

Over at the Stitch Bitch, Anna is musing on why our UFOs become UFOs. I started to reply on her comments page, but realized I have more to say and have brought my thoughts here:

Multitasking is only part of the answer. I think the truth is that my slight ADD tendencies get all excited by kitting up and starting something new. The beginning is full of new things and possibilities. The ending is satisfying, too, but in a different way.

I'd have to take a serious look through the bin to see at what point does something get put aside. Sometimes it's just that something more beautiful and compelling comes along and current project sort of falls away and out of sight is out of my mind. Other times, obligation stitching (which I rarely do anymore) cause me to put something down.

But why exactly do I focus on some projects with like a laser guided missile? It's happened to me twice this year. Both projects called to me. I mean, I could hear them in the resting places saying, "Stitch me. Now." These were Posiedon and my Halloween Fairy. In both cases, they made my current projects get dropped to UFO status. Both projects took about 6 weeks and I know I was enchanted with them every time I looked at them.

Why do other things become more of a chore? Maybe it's the beading or the metallics or the queen stitches that slow me down. Maybe I've gotten tired of the colors. Maybe it was just a really large project. I know I reject a lot of designs I love because of the size of the project. I try not to have more than 2 extra large projects going at once.

I admire those stitchers who have finished nearly every MLI angel. I don't know how they do it. I suspect they are one project at a time stitchers. Something I'm never going to be.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I've Got It

Last summer I designed and stitched my first rock n roll band sampler - sunshine came softly through my window today. Now I've got my second one brewing in my head - breathe deep the gathering gloom. I've got the absolutely perfect piece of linen for this.

Why do I consider the Moody Blues a winter band? I don't think I ever listen to them in the spring/summer.

Some one help me. I need more hours in each day. Preferably with sunlight.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Office Update

Things are slowly returning to normal after a long weekend that has nearly shattered my knees. The office is completely painted. The bookcases are assembled and partially filled. I've got 100 lbs or so of books that need disbursement. DH still needs to sort through his magazines, etc. We need to move upstairs bookcase downstairs to the bar room because I still need the room. Can't dispose of it. But I do have two bookscases that can be freecycled sometimes this week. The desk is assembled and is huge. Right now on top of it we have a desktop computer, a laptop, a printer, a scanner, a VCR and a turntable. And still there is plenty of room to work.

I love the wall color - La Fonda Boulder from Lowe's. DH says it's making him hungry - think chocolate Frosty from Wendy's. I've got issues with picking a fabric which I need to do ASAP. I don't need curtains for the window as badly as I need to make curtains for the closet.I removed the closet doors from this room two years ago and sawed them in half and threw them away. (The sawing was to be certain DH couldn't salvage them for some silly reason.) I need to steam clean the carpet in here. And bring in another chair. Cat was totally put out by this entire process. I believe he thinks this is his room as he comes down here every morning and stays till the afternoon. Right now he's snoozing on his ottoman - glad the work is finished, but unhappy that his ottoman isn't in front of the window.

There's still plenty to do in the rearranging and cleaning department. Everything that was moved out of this room needs to find a home so I can reclaim the bar room, that was formerly known as the pool room. But I freecycled the pool table. And maybe I should call it the den. Sounds better than bar?

Anyone Need a New Ironing Board?

Mark Lipinski

There may be a few of us here that were AOL 10 years ago and remember Mark, our own ToughguyNJ. He was vocal and funny and sometimes outrageous, but never boring in his posts on the cross stitch boards.

There's a profile of his new quilting magazine in today's (Nov 13th) Washington Post magazine reader in the Style section. You do have to register to read the whole article. But I'll post the opening paragraph to whet your appetite:

In Houston a couple of weeks ago, Mark Lipinski was mobbed by cheering, screaming, laughing women. Some wanted to hug him. Some wanted his autograph. And some wanted to learn where they could get one of those beefcake ironing board covers, the ones with a photo of a hunky guy wearing only a towel, a towel that vanishes when -- well, here's how Lipinski described it in his magazine, which is called Mark Lipinski's Quilter's Home:

"When you iron over said man, and get him hot (so to speak), his towel totally disappears and -- oh, baby, oh-oh-oh! -- he's naked! Your husband's going to wonder what wonderful thing he's done that's keeping you so happy in the laundry room (hee hee hee)!"

His website is here:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Process, not Fruition

Anna over at the Stitch Bitch is taking a little poll on how many finished, but "unfinished" projects we all have.

I admit to more than 41. FUFOs. That Finished, but Unframed Objects? or is it something else? But I digress.

Yes. For me, stitching is all about the process of stitching, of seeing that design bloom under your fingers. But the actual "finishing" leaves me cold. I love a finished piece after I accomplish the finishing, but with more than 41 waiting to be finished, I'll admit to a definite problem with the act of finishing.

Okay. That's more than enough of the "f" word for today.

Glad I'm not alone with this problem. And I'm willing to hand the crown to Nicole with 90 pieces awaiting final disposal.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Attn: NYC

From the New Yorker:

Reichek is a grandmother who does embroidery, but, whatever associations that image has for you, forget them. A conceptual artist with a degree from Yale and a punkish shock of platinum hair, she is a leading figure in the field of mixed-media art. The Museum of Modern Art gave her samplers a solo exhibition in 1999, and her latest show, “Pattern Recognition,” opened last week at the Nicole Klagsbrun gallery. “I think that what makes tapestry so topical is its relation to computer art,” Reichek said recently, over lunch at her studio, in Harlem. “They both involve patterning, and reducing or enlarging an image to a charted form. A stitch, in essence, is a pixel. With any pixellated surface, whether it’s a tapestry or a digital photograph, the more pixels you have, the higher your image resolution.”

Finished: One Ornament

My photo of my finished ornie is stuck in my camera. Whose battery needs charging. Oops.

But I did manage to take the last few over one stitches at 9:55 a.m. yesterday - in time to drop it off at the shop. A bunch of us stitched ornies for a tree that gets auctioned off by the Junior League or whoever it is. I probably should have passed on this little project, but I am a sheep and followed the crowd. I will now admit to being 1,000 words behind on my NaNoWriMo goals because of the ornament. And with the week two blues looming, this is a bad time to fall off the pace.

I did have enough Soie d'alger to stitch the border down both sides. There might even be enough to go across the bottom, but I'm leaving that for last. I decided to start stitching up from the bottom - avoidance technique that ignores those queen stitches for the moment. I know I have to do them. I should make myself alternate between the queen stitches and the remainder of bottom motif of house, gate, grass, peacock, etc.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Giving Up

Okay. I give. There's no way I'm going to finish stitching that ornament and do the finishing by tomorrow. I stitched through Jeopardy and Nova last night, but put it down to watch House.

Meanwhile the La Fonda Boulder applications continue. I think it looks great. Maybe I should be on the lookout for curtains or fabric for curtains that continues with the southwest thing. Nothing overt though. I hate that southwest decorating palette.

We did a day in Santa Fe years ago - we were staying in Albuquerque with friends. This was during our fifth year of living in the west - California and Colorado. I loved it out there. DH wanted to move to Arizona when he retired. Maybe I should have just said yes.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Soie D'alger

Help me. I need 3726 purchased somewhere around the year 2000. If it's newer, it may not match. Anna, if you've got some, I'll be properly amazed and extremely grateful.


I got the first coat of La Fonda Boulder on the main wall and around the door and around the window finished yesterday. Cat was not happy at being shut out of "his" room. I was wondering why he was glaring at me this morning and then I figured it out I'd left the door closed to contain the smell of drying paint. The name comes from a hotel in Santa Fe - as this is a National Trust color. It looked almost like silly putty when it was wet, but dries to a pretty shade of coffee with cream.

Of course that meant not a single stitch stitched. I need to finish my ornament for donation tonight if I'm going to stand a chance at giving a completely finished ornament. I'm sure I've got some Christmas fabric hanging out in a bin in the laundry if I can get to it. I'd go to Hancock Fabrics and buy some while I'm in Vienna today, but wait. They closed months ago frustrating me.

Monday, November 05, 2007


It's not just NaNoWriMo that's taken over my life and prevented me from posting here.

It's the office renovation.

Drywall is up, patched and primed. Today I begin painting.

But meantime let me detail a little problem I discovered.

On Tuesday I picked up some extra Soie d'alger for my Agnes Scott sampler. I know I'm going to run out 3726 and I wasn't sure about 3723 and the two red colors, so I bought extras of all of them.

On Thursday I brought Agnes Scott to my LNS for stitch-in and brought out my new silk to put in the floss away bags with my old silk when - oh, blankety, blank blank!

The colors no longer match!

The greens are so far apart - they aren't even remotely close. The original skeins were bought in 2000. The reds are a little bit closer to being right.

I quickly frogged the 3726 I was stitching in the middle of the sampler because I think if I can stitch the border done the sides, I might be able to get away with the color shift on the bottom of the border.

If I had known to buy two skeins at the time I kitted this project, I would have. I hate when this happens.

I did contact the designer, Ellen Chester, because this was an internet sampler project and maybe someone else out there has some leftover silk for me from the year 2000.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Tease, eh?

For the someone who thinks I'm a tease, well. Hphm. Don't worry. You're the recipient. That should make you feel better.

Welcome to the wonderful world of morons, psychopaths and mental defectives!

It's National Novel Writing Month, people. I'm writing a book. How about you?